Introducing a lean approach to a manufacturing process can have an immediate, positive impact on efficiency, productivity and profit.
Lean principles and simulation software together provide the ability to quickly experiment with different process improvement options, and pinpoint approaches that will most effectively reduce waste and create a process that adds value to the customer.
Lean manufacturing is a systematic method for the elimination of waste within a manufacturing process. Lean considers waste created through overburden and unevenness in workloads. This is considered from the perspective of the client who consumes the product or service, "value" is any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.
Essentially, lean is centered on making obvious what adds value by reducing everything else. Lean manufacturing is a management philosophy derived mostly Toyota and their way of working to remove waste and improve customer value. Exactly what value means will be different depending on your process and customer but can involve looking at key performance indicators such as, throughput, productivity, cost, amount of work in progress.
Muda is defined as anything that does not add value – this could include operations that your customer would not be happy to pay for and add no value to the product or service that you provide.
Waste can include factors which might not usually be usually be thought of as waste including as overproduction, high levels of inventory, items which need to be reworked, processing or waiting times and unnecessary movement.
The seven wastes in lean manufacturing:
The implementation of lean manufacturing through trying to make value flow at the pull of the customer (Just-In-Time) prevents and eliminates waste in your processes.
Changes to manufacturing processes that can be considered to reduce waste include:
In order to completely eliminate waste, all of these process changes should be considered together – but with a wide range of parameters to consider (e.g. batch sizes, J-i-T schedules, acceptable cycles times, Kanban quantities, container sizes), making these changes without effecting other processes or adding other forms of waste can be difficult.
Discrete event simulation software, like SIMUL8, can show accurately how a process will behave, both before and after implementing a lean manufacturing approach. This means you can get lean implementation right-first-time.
Simulating processes gives manufacturers a real advantage. Being able to present a dynamic and animated display of processes is a very powerful way of highlighting constraints in a system and is very effective in building buy-in for both operational and managerial staff to recognize the need for change.
Whether your simulation is showing a large queue building-up, or a series of activities grinding to a halt due to a lack of stock, nothing is more effective at communicating these types of issues than letting stakeholders see this happening for themselves.
From initial buy in to assessing your return on investment learn the five reasons why simulation is a great tool to drive lean projects across your organization.
"SIMUL8 gave us a technical way of understanding capacity, identifying bottlenecks and changing data to achieve new capacities, new goals and new logics. We never had this ability before."
Ricardo Fernandes, GPS Lead and Planning Specialist, FMC Technologies
Brian Harrington, a former Ford Motor Company employee and SIMUL8 user of 20 years discusses why simulation is such a useful tool to ensure the success of a project when time, cost and quality are all competing objectives.
Lean Manufacturing is much more than just addressing “non-value added buffers”. There are several other important factors within a true lean system. In this article we point out one of the most common errors that occurs when companies attempt to become lean overnight.
With simulation you can create a realistic representation of your system and carry out “what if” analysis, so that you can be sure your improvement ideas will have the desired effect of eliminating defects, reduce costs and increase profit.
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